WASHINGTON – Charlie Sheen is fond of boasting about his "winning" ways, but D.C. authorities are now investigating how he won a high-speed police escort on his way to a show in downtown Washington this week.
Sheen posted a photo on his Twitter account Tuesday night showing a police car ahead of him with emergency lights flashing as he was escorted at least part of the way from Dulles International Airport to his stage show, "Violent Torpedo of Truth: Defeat is Not an Option." Sheen included a picture of a speedometer reaching about 80 mph and a message that read: "In car with Police escort in front and rear! Driving like someone`s about to deliver a baby! Cop car lights (hash)Spinning!"
It was not clear exactly where along the route the photo was taken.
At the time, the former "Two and a Half Men" star was running nearly an hour late for the show after having spent the early part of his day in divorce court in Los Angeles for a custody hearing over the twin sons he shares with his estranged wife, Brooke Mueller.
The police escort is the latest bit of news for the celebrity actor, who`s waged a high-profile court fight to get his sitcom job back. He also has given a series of TV interviews in recent months that have launched phrases like "winning!" and "tiger blood" into the popular vernacular.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said in a statement Friday that the escort, conducted by the department`s Special Operations Division, appeared to violate police protocol in multiple ways and was being investigated by the internal affairs division.
She said emergency equipment, such as sirens and lights, was not to be used in non-emergency situations and that members of the department do not operate in other jurisdictions without the help of other law enforcement agencies. And she said escorts are generally reserved for the president, vice president and for visiting heads of state, though exceptions can be made but must be authorized by the assistant chief.
"It appears our protocols surrounding the approval of reimbursable details were not followed in this instance," the statement said.
Police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said Sheen`s promotion company, Live Nation Worldwide Inc., has written the District of Columbia a $445 check to cover the cost of the escort.
D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson, who chairs the council`s committee on public safety, said Friday he considered the escort inappropriate and was glad it was being investigated.
"It especially looks bad given that citizens are concerned about cutbacks in the size of the force," Mendelson said. "Not only is it inappropriate to be escorting celebrities, it just amazes me that somebody who was the recipient of this would then go and broadcast it the way he did."
Sheen spokesman Larry Solters declined to comment Friday. A spokeswoman for D.A.R. Constitution Hall, where Sheen performed, said the venue had nothing to do with arranging transportation, including the escort.
Kris Baumann, the chairman of the D.C. police union, said police escorts similar to the one provided to Sheen were common in Washington. He said venues or promotional companies will often hire officers for security with the understanding that the district will be reimbursed the cost of the detail. He said a lack of clearly articulated policies was contributing to confusion about when and where escorts were appropriate.
"The question becomes should we be doing it, and if we are doing it, what are the policies, what are the procedures to handle it?" he said.